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ResultsOhio aims to solve state’s greatest problems

By DAVID SKOLNICK

Staff writer

WARREN — State Treasurer Robert Sprague said his office’s ResultsOhio program will help address some of the state’s most pressing challenges including drug addiction, criminal justice, water quality and infant mortality.

The program, approved as part of the state’s budget bill in July, calls for organizations and local governments to use “out-of-the-box thinking, creative, new ideas” to tackle those issues, Sprague said during a Thursday meeting at the Tribune Chronicle.

The fund pays for successful initiatives that are first approved by the governor’s office and the state Legislature and must meet goals determined before the program starts, he said.

The money is initially funded through sources other than the state and if the goals are met the state reimburses the costs, Sprague said.

“If it produces results then we’ve got money set aside to buy back those pilot programs plus a small return on their investment,” he said.

He added: “The idea of ResultsOhio is to get it out of the bureaucracy and allow other things to happen, other providers to take chances, to try to innovate.”

ResultsOhio is administered through the treasurer’s office.

When it comes to breaking drug addiction, Sprague said, “The thing we struggle with is very low rates of recovery. So this ResultsOhio program was born out of that necessity. How do we increase the rates of recovery?”

State Rep. Don Manning, R-New Middletown, who sponsored the legislation in the Ohio House and joined Sprague at the newspaper’s office, said the program allows people with unique ideas to accomplish great things.

“I see it as a huge opportunity,” he said. “There are so many people around the state, and even outside the state frankly, that have ideas that work, that drive rates of suicide down, rates of addiction down. This model can be used” statewide.

“If they show the results they think they can get, the money back is a great investment,” Manning said. “And the state has an evidenced-based model (it) can now try to fund instead of saying, ‘Oh, this might work. Let’s throw some state money at it.'”

To date, ResultsOhio has come to an agreement on a program seeking to reduce recidivism in the Cleveland area.

Other possible issues it could assist include drug addiction, infant mortality, longterm care, early childhood education preparedness, water quality, workforce training and foster care.

One local possibility, Manning said, is a plan from the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board and others interested in moving their offices to the former Youngstown Developmental Center on East County Line Road in Austintown. The facility closed two years ago. The agencies need about $1.5 million for the project.

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